Information and Resources
To better understand and read a forage analysis this new publication. This will help you with the forage test reports sent out by the Soil, Plant and Pest Center.
Efficient forage production is key for a cattle operation to be profitable. Feed is the most expensive input for livestock. Since the cheapest way to feed cattle is through grazing, a goal of every cattle producer should be to reduce the amount of hay and stored feed used each year and graze as many days as practical. Here are a few simple management practices that can improve forage production and decrease the amount of hay that needs to be produced.
Since hay is such a widely used stored feed, it is important to understand the factors that influence hay quality and the criteria used to evaluate hay. This information can be used to develop a feeding program that will be the most effective and efficient in meeting each producer's goals.
Native warm-season grasses are those that have grown in an area prior to human settlement and were not brought in more recently from other parts of the world. Such grasses are naturally well-adapted to the region's soils, climate and the insects and diseases that may also occur naturally in the area. This publication will focus on five species that are important for forage production: big and little bluestem, indiangrass, switchgrass and eastern gamagrass.
Special attention should be paid to the cutting height when harvesting switchgrass or other native warm-season grasses for forage or biomass. A target stubble height of 8 inches (minimum 6 inches) is recommended for these tall-growing grasses
Paying attention to the details on growing, harvesting, and storing silage will help ensure a valuable high-quality crop. To produce high-quality corn silage, it is important to do a good job in growing, harvesting and preserving the crop.